Reviews: 21 Stealth

Hot Boat Magazine - August 2001

Less than a year out of Ultra' s mold, the 21-foot Stealth has grown into its name, quickly and methodically rising to become Ultra' s single best selling model in what is shaping up to be a very productive year. It' s a wicked combination: original styling (a rare commodity in this size class), resplendent gelcoat work, trick Dana pieces and very friendly passenger space. This resume looks even better in the revealing glow of this 350 Magnum-powered family bowrider' s premium acceleration numbers. The Stealth is a value, from any angle. A legitimate custom in every respect and absolutely slammed with standard features, hooked up on an Extreme tandem roller. It' s a value-generated option for first-time family custom buyers... Nice though the base boat may be, it' s entirely likely that you' ll grow bored with the perfectly respectable family performance of the base, 250-horse 5.7/Alpha. An upgrade to the 300-horse Magnum Bravo will put you in control of acceleration that you' ll remember a long time after you' ve forgotten the hit to your wallet.

WHAT YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY

There' s a fairly decent amount of free-board built into the Stealth-weaponry against the gnarly water that can broil weekend surfaces like Havasu or the local river and it' s shapely contour wears it well. The hull' s distinctive shape, which recently surfaced on a shapely 28-foot upstart, flows into a set of trick billet bolt-on swim steps.

Ultra owner John West consults with every customer before his boat is taped for gelcoat, and the result is a conscientious effort to make every boat unique. This one wore a rich combination of midnight blue and platinum grey, with Ultra' s beautiful signature fade work, and it elicited the regular high marks from our inspection team. The cockpit is nicely opened up, with plenty of leg room between the stylish and very comfortable components of the D&S interior and excellent driver legroom that extends deep below the helms. Front densely padded offshore-styled seats were securely mounted to upholstered pedestals and off the sides, and every possible contact point between the driver and front passenger was softly padded. The buckets were cut with side and rear inserts, which were boldly accented with blue panels that matched the gelcoat beautifully. Jumper seats are integrated off the sides of the front seats, and there is still room for four across to stretch their legs from the rear bench. Armrests slope off the rear seat, and stylishly cut, clean inserts with cup holders are grooved into the rear sides. Elegant headrests integrate into the rear-deck lid, which is switch-activated. The bow seating area is a very comfortable reclining area, perfectly suited for two people to be gloriously lazy. A speaker and two more drink holders per side tidily reside in another inset there.

Our drivers found the Ultra seating to be very comfortable and liked the overall placement of the Mercury side-mount controls, Dana panels with switches and white-faced Faria gauges. Ultra executed a two-tone, white and anodized pewter look on the bezels and interior trim, to great effect. Stainless railing and pop-up cleats are standard, and Dana' s ski tow, top-mount gas fills, billet swim step, engine induction vents and ski-tow assembly rounded out the hardware. The engine lift featured Dana' s hidden hinges, and rear-boarding handles mounted to the transom. Dual floor ski lockers are large enough to fit wakeboards, and a high-powered Sony CD system with a detachable face is standard.

PERFORMANCE

The properly powered Stealth, and we' d definitely include the 350 Mag within this distinction, adds a true performance dimension to its primary role as stylish family lake machine. The key is efficient use of power, and the High-5 prop didn' t hurt matters in that regard. The Bravo shifted smoothly, and, as we poured on the power and trimmed up quickly, the Stealth showed no appreciable bow rise or vibration. We hit 30 mph in 6.3 seconds and 40 in 8.30; second quickest of ten bowriders we tested in this size class (a 496 powered hull was first). Remarkably, given the small block, the Ultra was third-ranked in getting to 50 as well. Four-thousand on the tach brought us into a clean riding, enjoyable and easy to maintain 48 mile-an-hour cruise, and a relaxed putt across the lake reinforced our team' s unanimous praise for the boat' s handling and ride. In addition to being equipped with every amenity necessary for a full lake day, the Ultra demonstrates all of the performance qualities of a good family boat-including excellent stability through the power range. The hull trucked in and cut through Havasu chop very well, engaging a stiff ride that neutralized the rough surface. It turned tightly, with a level attitude at all speeds, and stayed dry. It' s an easy boat to drive at speed, and the ride was stable and smooth in the 60-mph range.

TEST TEAM TALK

Driver 1: Nice power to weight feel with the small block. Gets over normal windblown chop with ease. Flat-water and moderate water ride are outstanding. Excellent personality at speed, very stable.

Driver 2: Has the feel of a bigger boat, with open layout and interior room and design and a deeper feel that the family will like. Cruises nicely in all ranges and comfortable to run. Stable, no porpoising tendencies.

Driver 3: Beautiful boat, inside and out. Nice graphics in the interior and tasteful color work inside. Big cockpit for this size class. Pewter anodized hardware had a nice look, and everything was well placed and stylish. Very responsive to trim. Every-thing' s first-class in the boat.

POWERING OPTIONS

Depends what you want. The base Ultra Stealth is a great buy-especially when you stack it up next to the non-custom alternatives you' ll find in the same price range. Unleash the chemistry of the 350 Magnum and this hull, and you' ll build a surprisingly quick stock stern-drive package that' s guaranteed to raise some eyebrows. Or, if you' re adamant about choosing more top speed over a sweetly balanced acceleration setup, the 496 will acquaint you with the 70 mph range, Ultra says.